The outlook is bright for the modular sector post Covid-19, with offsite housing construction set to help the government meet net carbon targets and address the long standing housing crisis. ilke Homes has announced two exciting partnerships designed to deliver green and affordable housing in Beeston and Greenwich and secure local jobs in modular construction.
Network Rail go modular
JLL has brokered a redevelopment deal between ilke Homes and Network Rail to develop a 2.2 acre brownfield site next to Beeston station. ilke recently received a £30m investment from Homes England to increase capacity at its North Yorkshire factory. It was seen as the ideal partner for Network Rail's strategy of releasing land to encourage economic and community growth. All profits will be reinvested back into the railway to fund improvements for passengers.
Modular homes are the obvious choice for any new development, being quicker to construct and more cost effective to maintain. Their smaller carbon footprint helps to deliver on sustainability targets.
In Greenwich, ilke has partnered with energy firm Engie to deliver on the Royal Borough's twin pledges to reach net-zero carbon by 2030 and deliver 750 new social housing homes. Four eco-homes will be built in Knaresborough and craned into position. In the post-Covid climate, modular construction can be carried out to the highest standards while observing strict social distancing guidance.
Each home will exceed carbon-zero standards and be capable of producing energy back to the grid. Where most UK new builds are rated D on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), these modular homes rate well above A. With the installation of solar panels and heat pumps, they can be heated for as little as £1 a day.
Greenwich Council, which recently declared a local climate emergency, estimates that 21,000 homes produce 20% of all emissions but would cost close to £1bn to retrofit. ilke Homes will use BIM modelling to create a digital twin of each home so airtightness and energy performance can be monitored. This technology will ensure that net-zero is achieved without the need for a separate carbon offsetting scheme.
In total 750 high quality and sustainable homes will be delivered by the Greenwich Builds programme.
The future of housing
The buzz around modular has been building for some time, thanks largely to the possibilities for creating carbon zero developments like the Greenwich Build project. However, the partnership with Network Rail proves that modular construction can deliver not just for homeowners but for communities and the wider economy.
The government's strategy to roll out modular as part of its construction fuelled recovery effort is clear. Britain desperately needs homes and this low energy, high-efficiency method of construction guarantees a net benefit for homeowners through lower running costs and for the wider environment.
But there's a wider social and economic benefit to be harvested from the sector with jobs in modular construction boosting local economies and wider economic benefits accruing nationally.